South of Joshua Tree NP currently 61F going to 74 and gorgeous sunshine
How could I have been so dumb?! Somehow it never occurred to me that a national park would be completely filled to overflowing during the Christmas break. Duh! What was I thinking?? Mo and I were in Joshua Tree last year just two weeks later than this and it was very nearly empty. We thought, great, lets boondock in Joshua Tree before we head to Desert Hot Springs. Here is the link to last year’s entry about our wonderful visit to Joshua Tree. Seasoned RV travelers would probably laugh out loud at my assumptions.
After picking two bags of sweet oranges at Orange Grove RV park, we got on 58 east early enough to get to Joshua Tree by 1pm, early enough we thought to get a first come first served site in one of the campgrounds. Right. For the first time since we have been coming here, we had to wait in line to get to the entrance station, and then there were people everywhere. Every single Exhibit parking area was jammed and every single campground was full to bursting. Again…what in the world was I thinking??
In a way, it was an incredible blessing. We knew from Mo’s memory of her trip through this area, and from other bloggers that there was a great boondock site between the southern park entrance and Interstate 10, so we just ambled along enjoying the beautiful scenery knowing there was a place for us to land before evening. Although, somehow in the middle of high, bright winter light and a lot of people, the park had a bit less charm than we felt on our wonderful visit early in 2013.
When we passed the park entrance toward the freeway, almost immediately we saw the wide rather smooth dirt road leading west into the desert. There were three other rigs parked in the vicinity, but before very much distance we found a perfect site, level, and a bit elevated above the road, and protected by a man made dike from desert surface flooding.
It is a great spot. I can see RV Sue or Nina or Al and Kelly settling into this place very easily. I am also fairly certain that Rick wouldn’t think that much of it. Some love boondocking, some hate it. Some are fully prepared, and others like Mo and I just hang out for a few days here and there to enjoy the silence and privacy. We went to Quartzite once, and have no need to go back. That is a completely different world of RV fun. I am pretty certain that RVSue wrote about this place and that is why I remembered it was here, tucked away in my blog reading memory, along with Mo’s trip memories.
We had planned for boondocking, since even in the park it is a dry camp, so we had water and empty tanks and all we needed. Except for one little minor thing required for boondocking without solar panels. Fuel. Now I can hear all of you laughing uproariously again at my stupidity. I told Mo, “Let’s just wait to fuel up at Costco on our way out of DHS. We have a quarter tank and that will be plenty to get us there”.
Oops. Generator stops working at 1/4 tank. We were really hungry, so I decided to bypass the WeberQ potato in favor of the microwave while I cooked the steak for our New Year Eve supper. Suddenly the microwave shut down when the generator shut down and I looked at Mo with that sheepish expression that says “oops”.
So instead we turned everything off, I cooked some great fried potatoes on the stove top to go with our steak and Caesar salad and we opened the great bottle of Troon Vineyard Cabernet that Deb gave us for Christmas. The air was balmy and the sunset was simple but lovely. We got a kick out of using the new RV wine glasses that Deb also gave us for Christmas. They just stick into the ground by our chairs and aren’t as susceptible to spilling as they are on the little plastic table we use when we are out.
With temperatures only going as low as 55 degrees last night, we slept without any need for extra heat. Unlike other years, we had no television to watch the ball fall and with darkness thick with stars by 7pm I think I barely made it to 8 before putting my book away. Funny thing happened, though. At just a couple of minutes past midnight a gust of wind blew our single solar panel over, and it woke both of us up. In time to say “Happy New Year” and think of all my kids who usually call me at midnight.
I thought I would be without phone and internet for a few days, but in spite of our quiet boondocking status, we have several bars both on the Verizon MiFi and the Verizon iPad as well as the ATT iPhone. All bases covered for the time being. Oh yes, except for that fuel part and running the generator.
After breakfast this morning, Mo took the MoHo just 6 miles or so toward the closest gas station at Chiriaco Summit, and put in 20 gallons at 3.89 PG. Which is why I can now write and post and read emails and do all those things that might require a bit of generator power. We haven’t had to start it up yet, with plenty of charge on the batteries and the little panel keeping things at least charged enough to use the inverter and the Fantastic Fan. Nice.
While she was gone, Abby and Jeremy and I sat in the sunshine, although Jeremy was really concerned that the MoHo was not here. He sat on the rug by where the entrance of the MoHo should have been, patiently waiting for it to appear. Funny, the one time that I left him with Deborah over at the cottage, he did the same thing, sitting in the spot where the door had been, waiting for us to come home. I think Jeremy thinks he is a dog.
Our beautiful, warm, sunny New Years Day is slipping by with such grace and silence. The breezes are light, and it’s warm in the sun and cool in the rig with the windows open. I am enjoying reading all the “year end reviews” that fellow bloggers are posting. We enjoyed a great bike ride on the reasonably level road that wanders beyond our site into the desert toward the west. Later toward sunset we walked along the man made dike that separates the BLM land from the National Park land. Nice bit of elevation that allowed us to see in all directions. I know it is a trite saying, but I feel it so strongly at this moment: “Life IS Good”!